Thursday Morning Report: ‘Next Man Up’ is Becoming ‘Last Man Standing’

John Fennelly , Lead Writer

GEICO SportsNite has coverage of Giants practice, where the team said it can’t look past the Browns.

What you need to know…..

Eight Giants did not practice on Wednesday: C David Baas (hand), WR Ramses Barden (concussion), DT Rocky Bernard (quadricep), LB Michael Boley (hip), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot, knee), S Kenny Phillips (knee), G Chris Snee (hip), CB Corey Webster (hand)

Four others worked individuals: T David Diehl (knee), CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), LB Keith Rivers (hamstring), S Antrel Rolle (knee)

WR Rueben Randle will be stepping up into Barden’s role. His work ethic is suddenly in question after NBC’s Cris Collinsowrth uttered a remark during last Sunday’s game vs Philadelphia.

“I’m not really sure what he is referring to, so it is kind of hard for me to comment on it,” Randle told reporters yesterday. Tom Coughlin said he didn’t care what anyone outside the team had to say. Eli Manning did not discount the charge, only saying this:

“Rueben’s young. He’s trying to figure out what it takes to compete and get mentally and physically ready for upcoming games. He has talent, he’s been working better. Having an understanding of just how we work, how we prepare each week, and he’s been getting more reps these last few weeks, he’s doing a good job of putting everything together, and he’s going to have to play for us. Whether it’s this week, or sometime, he’s going to have to make some plays for us, and I believe he can do that. He can help us out.”

Nicks remains sidelined with a mystery swelling in his knee. He was only practicing once a week to give his surgically-repaired foot a break. Now he’s in danger of missing another game.

Coughlin said Nicks “looked pretty good walking” but was not ready to resume practicing. When pressed on the issue, he has little new to add:

“It’s a swollen knee. That’s what I’ve been told…..Could be the weather change. I mean, who knows?”

With all the injuries, Victor Cruz has been the constant in the Giants’ passing game. He is drawing extra attention from defenses, but has still managed to rack up 388 receiving yards, good for fifth highest among NFL pass-catchers.

“I’ve got to deal with it. Coach has done a good job moving me around, keeping me in that slot, keeping me outside, inside. Doing different things to keep the defense off-balance.”